Mallinder no sympathy for Hartley over dismissal


Northampton Saints coach Jim Mallinder felt Dylan Hartley could have no defence over his red card in Friday's heavy European Champions Cup defeat to Leinster.

The Saints were beaten 37-10 at Franklin's Gardens, their cause not helped by England captain Hartley getting sent off for swinging an arm into the head of Sean O'Brien in the 58th minute - just six minutes after coming on.

Hartley, who has a long history of disciplinary issues, is likely to face further sanction - with England's 2017 Six Nations campaign to begin on February 4 - and Mallinder made no excuses for the hooker.

"You can't strike to the head. We've seen enough of them over the last few weeks and I think it was a red card," he said.

"Dylan has been playing really well and leading England by example, so it was disappointing on returning from England and doing such a good job that that happens.

"I wouldn't say it cost us the game. I think we started badly, came back into the game pretty well and we had just conceded a try, actually, so we were already a few points down.

"But I think when you go down to 14 men against such a quality side as Leinster then you're always going to be up against it."